Analyzing Factors Effective on the Development of Relationship Commitment

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Analyzing Factors Effective on the Development of Relationship Commitment Authors:
Yashar Dehdashti
PhD student, The University of Texas at Dallas, USA

Nooshin Lotfi
PhD student, Texas A&M University, USA

Dr. Naser Karami
Assistant professor, Sharif University of Technology

Keywords:
Trust, relationship commitment, relationship marketing, fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs)

Abstract

Due to the important role of commitment and trust in the relationship marketing, the factors which can directly result in a committed relationship along with the factors which can influence the commitment through influencing trust, according to the model of commitment and trust by (Morgan & Hunt, 1994) have been introduced and their level of importance has been investigated here. The article uses fuzzy cognitive maps (FCMs) in the proposed model to find the most important paths leading to relationship commitment. The FCM analyzes the responses of a group of 30 people including general practitioners in dentistry, managers of dental departments in some of the public clinics and hospitals who are the direct customers of 3 distributers of dentistry equipments in Iran to find the most important paths. Also the influence of coercive power, which was not concluded in previous researches, has been examined. The result of this inquires, then, has been provided along with its managerial implications and the impacts of prioritizing antecedents and factors of trust and commitment in relationship marketing.

1. Introduction

It’s been suggested that “successful relationship marketing requires relationship commitment and trust.” (Morgan & Hunt, 1994) The literature, also, suggests that understanding relationship marketing requires distinguishing between the discrete transaction, which has a "distinct beginning, short duration, and sharp ending by performance," and relational exchange, which "traces to previous agreements [and] ... is longer in duration, reflecting an ongoing process" (Dwyer, Scburr, & Oh, 1987). Hence Relationship marketing refers to all marketing activities directed toward establishing, developing, and maintaining successful relational exchanges. In this article we, first, conduct a comprehensive literature review on commitment and trust and the respective constructs in section 2. In the next section we will introduce Fuzzy Cognitive Maps and the way we utilize them to find the most important paths leading to trust and commitment. Finally, conclusions regarding the results along with the managerial implications and future studies are presented.

2. A Review of Trust and Commitment
The literature is rife with researches that point to the fact that in the global economy one has to be a trusted competitor to be an effective one, which emphasizes the importance of relational marketing. As the presence of relationship commitment and trust is central to successful relationship marketing (Shelby & Hunt, 1994), and given the importance of relational marketing in today’s competitive world and its bearing on CRM, a concept that has seen a great boom over the past two decades (Payne & Frow, 2005), it is important to know the antecedents that affect trust and commitment in relational marketing. When both commitment and trust—not just one or the other—are present, they produce outcomes that promote efficiency, productivity, and effectiveness. In short, commitment and trust lead directly to cooperative behaviors

Relationship commitment is defined as an exchange partner believing that an ongoing relationship with another is so important as to warrant maximum efforts at maintaining it; that is, the committed party believes the relationship is worth working on to ensure that it endures indefinitely. (Moorman, Deshpande, & Zaltman, 1993): "Trust is defined as a willingness to rely on an exchange partner in whom one has confidence." The literature on trust suggests that confidence on the part of...
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